Oak and 7th Street Zendos
Fall Practice Period
September 10 to November 19, 2022

 

The Invitation
With pleasure and anticipation I invite you to join with Dennis Sarni and I for the 2022 Fall Practice Period . Practice Period is a special span of time in which Zen practitioners are invited and encouraged to intensify their commitment to Buddhist practice.

It is also a time when newcomers are able to experience Zen teachings through the strength of shared community intention and mutual support.  Although we will participate virtually over Zoom, there will be occasions when some of us will be able to gather safely, in person.

 

About Practice Period
Historically, Practice Periods were rainy season retreats for monastics and lay people. For the last 2,500 years, intensive training periods have been common in many schools of Buddhism.
We, at Oak Street Zendo in San Francisco & 7th Street Zendo in Boise Idaho continue this tradition.

 

Each year in the spirit of those in monastic practice, we bring dharma practice to the foreground of our lives. We focus on everyday activity: (relationships, work, and regular sitting). Practice Period is also a time of increased community connection, when we have the opportunity to bear witness to each other’s lives and our shared experience of living and working together.
 

Our theme for Fall PP will be : Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of

Lojong , by our friend and lineage holder: Norman Fischer.  It is our good fortune to have encountered the Dharma, to have access to teachers, and to have a desire to practice. And
having set out on the path – whether we’ve been practicing for years or are just beginners – how do we keep our aspiration fresh and alive?

 

The Shuso
A Buddhist Practice Period features a student who serves as Shuso, (Head Student), sharing responsibility and assisting me in supporting our Practice. In addition to full participation in the practice schedule, the Shuso gives several talks and hosts small group gatherings.
This year’s Shuso is Dennis Sarni. He has been practicing with Oak Street Zendo for many years.
Dennis received Lay Ordination (Jukai) from Reb Anderson in 2018.

 

Participation

There are a variety of ways to engage with our Practice Period. Participants commit to a schedule which fits their circumstances, attempting to include as many of the sittings, gatherings and ceremonies as practical. One's involvement should be balanced: supportive of your practice and others, without being burdensome. During this time you might choose to add more periods of zazen meditation to your week or make a commitment to attend several of the offered retreats and teas. Taking on a new practice relationship, or meeting more regularly in practice discussion with the teacher would also be appropriate. Ultimately we
each should decide how we might deepen our commitment. Being clear about this will allow you to receive the benefits of the practice period, rather than experience it as additional demand or burden. Regardless of how busy you think you are, I encourage you to join us and participate as completely as your life and practice allow.

 

All are welcome
We value the flexibility and freshness of the beginner’s mind in Zen practice. If you are new to Zen (or meditation practice in general) and are looking for a supportive way to enter Buddhist practice, we invite you to participate. We encourage & invite diversity.

 

Practice Period Activities

 

Opening Ceremony & Retreat: Practice Period starts with our monthly Half Day Meditation retreat and opening ceremony on Saturday September 10th, from 8:30am to 2:00 Pacific Time.

 

Group Meditation (Zazen): Our regular morning and evening zazen schedule will continue over
Zoom. Currently we sit together at 6 AM on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings, and 7 PM on Monday and Thursday evenings (Pacific Time.) There will be introductions to the forms of sitting Zazen and Zendo practice. 

The Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85466090835?pwd=ajd3anRzTVZ5aXRSbGhBaXY5THFHdz09

 

Half Day Sitting Retreats : We will have 3 retreat Half Day Sittings over the course of the Practice
Period, each retreat day includes 5 periods of Zazen and walking meditation. An invitation and schedule will be distributed prior to each Half Day Sitting. The schedule also includes a Dharma Talk and conversation, noon service, lunch break and a closing service. All Practice Period members are strongly encouraged to attend these retreats, which will include key ceremonies and group participation to support the community and our practice.

 

  • Tuesday Night Study Group : This weekly event begins with a short meditation period, followed by reading and discussion. The text during Practice Period is: Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong by Norman Fischer.  The link is the same as our morning and evening sitting link.

 

  • Shuso Talks : The Shuso will give two formal talks. The first will be a traditional Way Seeking Mind Talk . The second talk will consider the challenges of practice in the midst of adversity.

 

  • Tea with the Shuso : Participants are invited to attend tea in small groups with the Shuso, to discuss practice and get to know each other more deeply. We hope to include in person gathering for at least one or both of the Teas.  Zoom connections will be offered as well.

 

  • Practice Partners : A sangha partner is a person with whom you speak on the phone or in person several times during the Practice Period. Your request for a specific person will be considered, but partners will be determined by myself and Shuso.

 

  • Closing Retreat & Ceremony : Practice Period ends with a half day sitting and a Shuso Ceremony on Saturday November 19th. This traditional ceremony allows the Shuso to respond to questions from Practice Period participants and invited guests, in an exchange known as dharma dialogue.

 

Calendar of Events
 

  • September 10th Half Day Retreat & PP Opening Ceremony
     

  • Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, and Sunday:  6 to 7 AM Morning Zazen Meditation
     

  • Monday and Thursday:  7 to 7:30 PM (Pacific time) Evening Zazen Meditation
     

  • Tuesdays 7 PM Text Study Class
     

  • October 1st:  Tea with the Shuso: On Zoom with time & place to be announced
     

  • October 15th Half Day Retreat Including First Shuso Talk
     

  • October 29th Second Shuso Tea and Talk
     

  • November 19th Half Day Retreat & PP Closing Ceremony

 

Registration
Once you have decided to participate, please enroll by filling out the Practice Period Commitment Form (see form below) . We ask you to put in writing your intentions and let us know what activities you plan to attend.  By making your commitment explicit, putting it in your calendar and showing up, you are honoring something sacred within yourself. The deadline for joining the Practice Period and submitting your form is September 3rd.

Your timely response will allow Dennis and I to consider and determine partners for the Practice Period.  Your partner will give additional opportunities to share challenges and support each other during our time together.

 

Fee
There is a suggested $100 donation for joining the Practice Period.   Our sangha is also very pleased and comfortable to offer up to 75% scholarships for those who would appreciate support.  Our intention is to encourage donations regardless of size.

 

Thank you very much,
 

Peter van der Sterre
& Dennis Sarni
Oak and 7th Street Zen

Fall Practice Period Commitment Form